I. (a) Mix a teaspoon of lard and three teaspoons of flour into a small cake and bake.
(b) Repeat, using butter instead of lard.
(c) To explain the difference in the results, melt, over hot water, 1 oz. butter and 1 oz. lard. Let stand, and notice any differences. How would you substitute one for the other?
II. (a) Repeat I (a), but add to each a carefully measured amount of water, the least possible necessary to make the mixture hold together. How much is used?
(b) Repeat, using twice as much water.
(c) Repeat, using three times as much water.
III. Repeat II (a), but use very hard fat and ice water, cutting them into the flour with a knife. Why? Write a recipe with directions for making pie crust.
B. Prepare Pie Crust. Use either:
1. All butter.
2. All lard.
3. Half lard and half butter.
4. All Crisco.
What proportion of fat will you use in each case? How will the amount of salt vary with the amount of fat used? Roll out crust.
1. Cover the bottom of a small inverted pie-plate with a very thin crust. Prick with a fork. Bake in a hot oven for a few minutes. Slip the crust into the inside of the plate and finish baking.
2. Cover the inside of the plate with crust. Do not prick. Bake as before. Compare with (1) for use as a shell for pie. Explain the behavior of (2).
3. Bake a piece of the crust trimmings in a very slow oven. Decide upon the best temperature for baking pastry shells.
C. Prepare an Apple Pie.
Pastry flour differs from bread flour in having a smaller amount of gluten and a larger amount of starch. The advantage in using it for pastry and for cake is that so made they are more tender than when made with the larger amount of gluten. It is quite possible, however, to make both good pastry and good cake with ordinary bread flour. If bread flour be used, greater care should be taken not to develop the gluten by too much working. This is just the opposite of what we try to do in making bread.
Pastry flour is made in two ways. It is sometimes made by grinding the "softer" winter wheat; sometimes by selecting the flour stream from the grinding of "hard" or spring wheat, which will furnish the largest percentage of starch. The housekeeper may get much the same effect by adding cornstarch to bread flour, using three parts of flour to one part of cornstarch. The flour sold as pastry flour is often unsatisfactory, being in reality only a poorer grade of flour and one not adapted especially to pie- and cake-making. Pastry flour is distinguished from bread flour by its whiter color, its smoother and less gritty quality, and by its retaining better the print of the fingers, if squeezed in the hand.
Since no leavening agent is ordinarily used in pie crust, careful handling is necessary to entangle air in the dough so that the heat of the oven shall expand it and produce a light crust. This is accomplished by the many foldings of the dough after it is first rolled out. This folding makes many horizontal layers which in a light, baked crust are separated somewhat from each other. The large amount of fat undoubtedly helps in the power of these layers to retain gas which may be partly the air, as already mentioned, as well as vapor from the water in the dough. Moisture undoubtedly plays a larger part in leavening pastry than it does in bread, because here the thin layer of crust is heated more quickly to a much higher temperature than that of the inside of a loaf of bread.
Fat in pie crust makes it short and flaky. Different fats are used, butter, oleomargarine, lard, Crisco, cottolene, and the like. Butter usually gives the best flavor, but it is the most expensive. Sometimes part butter is used.
Pie crust is not generally considered very digestible, due to a number of reasons. The lower crust, if wet and soggy and underdone, forms a soft mass which is rarely properly mixed with saliva in chewing. Well-baked pie crust which is flaky and crisp undoubtedly breaks up better and so is more digestible. Overheated fat is not easily digested and, for some people, this may be a source of difficulty. Then, so little liquid is used with the flour that, often, part of the starch is not hydrated at all, so that even after baking, it is not really changed from raw starch. It is easy to see that the really light and flaky crust is the most desirable from the standpoint of digestibility, as well as from that of taste.
1. What effect does water have on flour?
2. What effect has fat?
3. How are crusts of a two-crust pie held together?
4. Is there a difference in the oven temperature for pies filled with cooked and uncooked mixtures? Why?
5. Compare butter, Crisco, and lard as shortening in pastry.
6. What effect has temperature during mixing and before baking on the resulting pie crust? Why is this?
7. Why is pie crust difficult to digest?
8. Why is it necessary to perforate crust for single-crust pie?
9. Is it necessary to butter a pie-tin?
10. Can unbaked pastry be kept over from one day to the next? How?